RTIndie: Early Fest Reviews For Into the Wild, The Darjeeling Limited, and Margot at the Wedding

I'm Not There, Juno also premiere

by | September 5, 2007 | Comments

This week at RTIndie, we check out the early buzz from Telluride and Venice, where some of the fall’s most anticipated indies have premiered. And our DVD Pick of the Week is a doc that takes a closer look at the Lost Boys of Sudan.

Anticipated Indies Get Early Notices At Venice, Telluride

From the Venice and Telluride film festivals come word on some of the fall’s most buzzworthy flicks, helmed by a few of the biggest names in the indie world — Sean Penn, Wes Anderson, Todd Haynes, and Noah Baumbach, just to name a few.

Premeiring at Telluride, Penn’s Into the Wild has gotten strong reviews at the fest. The film stars Emile Hirsch in the based-on-a-true-story of a young man who abandoned his possessions for a life in the wilderness. “A story of youthful narcissism that never neglects the poignant humanity at its core, Into the Wild speaks to the yearnings and frailties in all of us,” writes Kevin Lally of Film Journal International. “Into the Wild could easily whet its audience’s wanderlust,” writes Harvey S. Karten of Compuserve.


Into The Wild

Another Telluride film with positive early buzz is Jason Reitman‘s comedy Juno, starring Ellen Page and Michael Cera in the story of a young couple who must make some tough decisions in the wake of an unplanned pregnancy. The critics are calling it a smart film that plays some difficult situations for laughs, thanks to a sharp script from Diablo Cody. “This might seem like odd material for a comedy, but trust me, Cody’s script is pure gold — expect big things in the future from this first-time screenwriter,” wrote Cinematical‘s Kim Voynar. “The way the torrents of archly amusing, vocabulary-bending dialogue trip off the tongues of the characters, you know you’re in the hands of some manner of distinctive writer,” said Variety‘s Todd McCarthy.

On the other hand, Wes Anderson’s latest, The Darjeeling Limited, has received mixed-to-negative reviews after its premiere in Venice. The film, starring Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, and Jason Schwartzman, tells the story of three estranged brothers on a chaotic trip across India in search of spiritual enlightenment. It received a middling thumbs-down from Alissa Simon in Variety (“Breaking no new ground thematically, pic comes closer to The Royal Tenenbaums than The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, but without achieving the poignance of Rushmore“) and an outright pan by Ray Bennett in the Hollywood Reporter (“A third-rate Hope and Crosby picture with no big laughs and nothing to say as the completely self-involved threesome ride the rails in a circle back to their dull and uninteresting lives”).


The Darjeeling Limited

Also getting mixed notices from scribes is Anderson buddy Noah Baumbach’s latest, Margot at the Wedding, starring Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Jack Black. Margot tells the story of a pair of sisters whose relationship is tested over one’s marriage plans. “Baumbach has followed up his acclaimed 2005 breakthrough The Squid and the Whale with another wryly observed, giddily cringe-inducing, bracingly original winner,” writes Michael Rechtshaffen of the Hollywood Reporter. But, says Eugene Novikov of Film Blather, “these people are so intensely unlikable, and the film so unwilling to help them toward any sort of redemption, that Margot becomes a sour and unrewarding experience.”


Margot at the Wedding

One of Venice’s odder — and most anticipated — entries is Todd Haynes’ impressionistic, unconventional Bob Dylan biopic, I’m Not There. The film stars Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett (as Dylan!), and Richard Gere in a series of loosely-connected vignettes anchored upon Dylan’s life, music, and influence. And the scribes say it’s weird. “It’s a curiosity that could delight or turn off loyal Dylan fans and may prove too oddball to draw in younger and mainstream audiences,” the Hollywood Reporter‘s Bennett writes in a largely positive review).

Telluride ran from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1; Venice runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 8. Wild, Margot, I’m Not There, and Juno will all be playing at the Toroto International Film Festival, which starts Thursday; check back for RT’s reports from the fest.

RTIndie DVD Pick of the Week: God Grew Tired of Us

Recently, documentary filmmakers increasingly find themselves making films to fill in the gaps left by the networks. Like Darfur, the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan was one such under-publicized atrocity that went on to inspire multiple theatrical and televised docs between 2003 and today. The first major release, Meghan Mylan and John Shenk‘s Lost Boys of Sudan went theatrical in 2004 and the second release, the star supported God Grew Tired of Us came out in the winter of 2007 and will hit DVD this month. Narrated by Nicole Kidman and produced by Brad Pitt, Dermot Mulroney, and Catherine Keener, God Grew Tired of Us follows three South Sudanese men (no longer boys) from their UN sponsored huts in Sudan’s neighboring Chad to church sponsored homes in Pittsburg and Syracuse. You don’t have to be a star to see the appeal these men wield. Directors Christopher Dillon Quinn and Tommy Walker show these men endure the culture shock of planes, prepared foods and indoor lighting with sweetness and not a bit of placation. Ultimately, the men’s homesickness and ardor to save the nation that fathered them is a foray into their stories that’s accessible no matter what country you hail from. At 91 percent on the Tomatometer, God Grew Tired of Us is certified fresh; James Greenberg of the Hollywood Reporter called it “an incredibly powerful story of renewal, commitment and the resiliency of the human spirit.”


God Grew Tired of Us

Sara Schieron contributed to this article.

Tag Cloud

Acorn TV GoT spy thriller ABC casting Pirates anthology Sneak Peek Character Guide screen actors guild El Rey WGN facebook Mary Poppins Returns cats Women's History Month WarnerMedia news Fall TV Apple TV Plus Christmas Winter TV documentary sequel Captain marvel Showtime Black History Month Fantasy LGBTQ Set visit Song of Ice and Fire Brie Larson dramedy Amazon nature cancelled TV series comedies Anna Paquin PaleyFest Film Polls and Games Sci-Fi laika 21st Century Fox Calendar FXX cancelled Animation Interview OneApp Netflix Christmas movies Vudu Star Trek Awards Tour MTV Epix Photos nfl MSNBC child's play Walt Disney Pictures Lucasfilm comic USA Network transformers superhero E3 Cartoon Network HBO Go canceled TCM sports Holidays Schedule stop motion Marvel Television spanish Amazon Studios Shondaland Box Office BBC One Podcast DGA indiana jones remakes Film Festival Crunchyroll hispanic Kids & Family blaxploitation Apple TV+ binge Turner aliens Apple The Witch Star Wars 71st Emmy Awards YouTube Premium SDCC richard e. Grant First Look Starz Chernobyl Disney streaming service ESPN CNN Oscars 2018 20th Century Fox Trailer Syfy Sony Pictures TCA Winter 2020 all-time animated sequels TLC BET zero dark thirty films venice cinemax 45 Disney Channel LGBT medical drama YouTube Red cops Superheroe ABC Family composers Lionsgate The CW See It Skip It Peacock Infographic Columbia Pictures Spring TV what to watch renewed TV shows TCA 2017 Food Network Tumblr Avengers toy story Ellie Kemper Martial Arts golden globes Sundance Now Tomatazos Discovery Channel The Walking Dead Chilling Adventures of Sabrina ghosts TIFF APB disaster 2015 miniseries San Diego Comic-Con Hear Us Out Classic Film talk show Horror Binge Guide comics hollywood die hard AMC Mudbound crime drama teaser true crime a nightmare on elm street 4/20 football Shudder classics indie Crackle VOD worst movies Pride Month tv talk obituary dceu technology Adult Swim Valentine's Day Fox Searchlight diversity President IFC Films psycho versus robots Opinion Tubi 2019 Premiere Dates PlayStation spanish language foreign Paramount Network Red Carpet crime latino Turner Classic Movies TruTV Toys Trivia Mystery Universal CMT police drama breaking bad Endgame Trophy Talk Writers Guild of America Superheroes doctor who TCA Awards biography scary movies children's TV spain Elton John PBS National Geographic YouTube DirecTV science fiction 72 Emmy Awards Winners Dark Horse Comics YA Lifetime theme song GIFs reboot Lifetime Christmas movies Marvel Studios game show Extras japanese 2016 Comedy anime BAFTA DC streaming service Disney television CBS All Access chucky Biopics hist Drama TV adventure crossover space based on movie historical drama dogs ITV rotten movies we love Country franchise Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Travel Channel supernatural A&E Rocketman Sundance TV Disney+ Disney Plus finale TV renewals witnail emmy awards streaming quibi HBO USA spinoff Awards Marathons romance Holiday natural history best 24 frames Academy Awards ratings Comedy Central 007 Heroines Logo Election Hallmark Baby Yoda concert cults Cannes Cosplay New York Comic Con Reality Pop BBC America spider-man Bravo Fox News scorecard Marvel American Society of Cinematographers GLAAD Nat Geo justice league romantic comedy Emmys Pet Sematary History archives TCA Mary poppins french The Academy Amazon Prime book name the review war Musicals Spike werewolf critics italian Arrowverse RT History slashers dragons Freeform TV Land Ovation rotten VH1 SXSW Musical crime thriller Comics on TV X-Men IFC Television Academy asian-american halloween sitcom video on demand parents cancelled TV shows video comiccon dark psychological thriller revenge toronto mockumentary boxoffice sag awards discovery politics christmas movies travel cars Pixar Hallmark Christmas movies dc stand-up comedy reviews Hulu cooking period drama worst Ghostbusters Creative Arts Emmys docudrama vampires harry potter universal monsters blockbuster CW Seed social media Family Spectrum Originals Quiz zombies cartoon festival Amazon Prime Video nbcuniversal Emmy Nominations Thanksgiving Super Bowl HBO Max Teen Masterpiece game of thrones TNT joker screenings Stephen King Rocky political drama BBC Rom-Com twilight adaptation Esquire directors satire thriller series FX 2017 NYCC Nominations Action MCU CBS Sundance Comic Book Tarantino award winner E! SundanceTV Reality Competition green book festivals RT21 Watching Series Mindy Kaling mutant DC Universe stoner Mary Tyler Moore kids movie unscripted The Arrangement Countdown The Purge FOX Black Mirror mission: impossible DC Comics criterion Netflix Funimation south america Grammys free movies jamie lee curtis Music TBS Nickelodeon Certified Fresh A24 canceled TV shows First Reviews 2020 Best and Worst NBC zombie fast and furious Rock Summer cancelled television Year in Review halloween tv documentaries independent Paramount movies batman strong female leads OWN singing competition BET Awards Disney Plus elevated horror Warner Bros. Pop TV FX on Hulu Video Games Britbox Television Critics Association serial killer VICE Western